The Best Camping Blackout Tents
- The Best Camping Blackout Tents
- Blackout Tents for Camping – Reviews
There’s nothing worse than being woken up at the break of dawn by the sunlight, especially after you’ve been wild camping and had a few beers the night before!
The latest trend in camping tents is totally blocking out natural light, allowing you to extend your sleep past sunrise.
Blackout tents come in handy when you’re camping with kids that need to get their afternoon naps. They help to create a cool and comfortable environment, perfect for snoozing in the middle of the day.
Thanks to their increasing popularity, we are seeing more blackout tent models being rolled out by manufacturers every other day.
Unfortunately, they are not all created equal and some may not offer you the expected performance. To help you avoid the pitfall of investing in a substandard product, we are reviewing the best blackout tents on the market today!
What is a Blackout Tent?
A blackout tent is a specially designed shelter that serves to prevent sunlight from getting inside the tent during a camping adventure. These tents feature a unique fabric that blocks out light to result in a dark interior space.
If you are familiar with blackout curtains used in homes, the concept behind them is the same as that of blackout tents.
While some models of darkroom tents employ traditional tent fabric in the construction (a darker shade), the best blackout tents for wild camping utilise a material with light absorption and diffusion properties. Some tents can block out as much as 99% of the incoming light, leaving you with a pitch-dark interior.
Furthermore, these types of tents tend to get cooler than ordinary tents. The best models are designed with climate control fabric and innovative ventilation techniques to reduce the temperature inside.
Generally speaking, a blackout tent can be 10 degrees cooler inside than the temperature outside, although this will vary from one brand to the other.
Why Do I Need a Blackout Tent?
Blackout tents are becoming a go-to camping accessory for many modern campers, thanks to the practicality they offer. If you struggle to sleep in bright environments, such as during the daytime, they are just what you need to enjoy a comfortable siesta.
Aside from blocking the light, they also keep the environment cool so that you are not inconvenienced by the heat.
Bright light can adversely aspect sleep, especially for sensitive sleepers like little kids. So, if you decide to take your young ones camping, blackout tents will prove crucial when the children want to get an afternoon nap.
The environment inside is dark and cozy enough to keep them snoozing soundly. This also means that their sleep won’t be interrupted early in the morning when the sun rises.
Another situation that calls for blackout tents is when you go camping in hot environments. If you want to pitch a tent in the desert or during the summer months of the year, then you need something to limit the scorching sun and blistering heat.
A blackout tent not only blocks the undesirable glare of the sun but also keeps the tent cooler for a more comfortable living space.
Finally, festival-goers will also find great use in blackout tents when they need to block out the bright lights. Considering that people have different sleeping schedules during such an event, you won’t have to struggle to catch some sleep when other people are up and living it up.
What is the Right Size for a Blackout Tent?
Just like all other camping tents, you can never overlook the importance of size when setting out on an adventure. Things can get too cramped and too stuffy for comfort when you are sharing the tent space with other people.
This may end up being the case when you go camping with your family or a group of friends. Even for blackout tents, you still want some wriggle room to stretch and sleep comfortably.
Extra space to store your backpack and other camping essentials is a feature that many campers look for in a tent. So, when shopping for a blackout tent, it is recommended that you pick a model that offers greater capacity than the actual number of people planning to camp under it. For instance, if you are a family of four, you can get a 6-person tent to ensure you’re not cramped up.
Is Ventilation Important in a Blackout Tent?
Even though blackout tents tend to reduce the temperature inside, you still need ventilation on your tent to maximise comfort. Ventilation not only serves to keep the tent cool but also allows for free airflow, as well as freshens up the interior environment.
Some blackout tents also get quite warm during the day and stay the same into the night, so ventilation will be needed to let in a cool breeze.
A blackout tent that incorporates windows or mesh vents offer even better performance in hot camping situations. Ground vents are also a crucial feature that helps to reduce humidity and prevents heat from rising to the ceiling. This makes for a more stress-free sleeping session.
Even when camping in cold environments, ventilation will still be needed to keep your living space from getting too stuffy.
Blackout Tents for Camping – Reviews
Coleman Sundome Tent
The Coleman Sundome tent is a great option for a group of campers looking for an adventure in the wild. It can comfortably accommodate 4 people and still offer extra room for a screened porch.
Thanks to Coleman’s darkroom technology applied to this tent, it significantly reduces the light getting inside while helping to keep the environment cool and comfortable.
According to the manufacturer, the technology blocks up to 99% of sunlight, although testing it reveals that it is much less than they claim. Nevertheless, this feature ensures that your sleep won’t be cut short by the glaring morning light.
The temperature inside is also notably reduced, allowing you to relax on those hot summer afternoons. Although most of the tent fabric uses the blackout feature, some parts don’t hence allow some light to penetrate for a slight level of lighting.
This means if you’re looking for a total blackout tent, it may not be the choice for you. If you appreciate privacy while camping, this tent gives no chance to prying eyes. Even with a lamp on inside the tent, nobody gets to see you from outside.
Aside from blocking the light, the flysheet does a good job of protecting you from wetness. It uses a WetherTec system and patented corner while protected seams help to keep the water out.
The frame is also pretty sturdy and tests reveal that it can withstand winds moving as fast as 35mph.
You won’t have trouble setting up the tent. It only takes 10 minutes to get it up and ready for use, but this can be reduced with an extra pair of hands helping out.
Another useful feature integrated into the Coleman Sundome is an e-port, which offers easy electrical cord access, especially useful if you’re looking for a tent with an ac port.
Overall, this is one of the best tents that will suit campers looking to shelter from the scorching sun. The best part is that you can find this tent for less than £100, ensuring that you’re getting value for your money.
On the downside, some people contend that the seams are not fully seamed as advertised, so you might have to redo the sealing for optimal performance in wet weather.
Vango Skye 500 5 Man Tent
The Skye 500 tent from Vango offers a reliable blackout performance that will suit those who want privacy inside their living space. It boasts a range of useful features that help to keep your stay away from civilisation fun and comfortable.
This camping tent offers lots of room, with full-stand-up height to save your back the trouble of bending all the time.
The tunnel design delivers a unique look from afar while providing space to relax in the porch area.
This is designed with clear windows to provide adequate illumination when you want to sit down with your friends for a game of cards. Meanwhile, the bedroom area is blacked out to make for a darker space that encourages uninterrupted sleep.
The Skye 500 is a sturdy structure, and this is made sure by the patented TBS system applied to its construction. It serves to add stability when you pitch the tent, safeguarding you from harsh weather conditions like storms and strong winds.
High-visibility guylines are also attached at optimal positions on the tent for extra-strong performance in the harsh outdoors. The Vango Protex 70D polyester flysheet used does a great job of protecting you against wet weather. This comes with a Hydrostatic Head value of 3000mm, meaning it is highly waterproof and durable.
To ensure that no water droplets find their way inside, the tent features taped seams, which result in a tight seal, as well as and a groundsheet for groundwater protection.
The Vango PowerFlex fiberglass poles holding up the tent allow for a sturdy yet lightweight structure for enhanced practicality during transportation. These are conveniently colour-coded to give you an easy time during set up.
Despite being a blackout tent, breathability is not compromised, and this is a credit to a polyester inner that allows condensation to sneak in for a comfortable sleep at night. Lantern hanging points have been incorporated inside the living room and bedroom for when you need some illumination.
You’ll also appreciate the well-positioned inner pockets, which provide safe storage space for small camping accessories you came with. All the fabrics used on the Skye 500 are fire-retardant to guarantee your safety and a handheld carry bag is included in the package for effortless transportation when you dismantle the tent.
Coleman Oak Canyon 4 Person Tent
This is another great tent from Coleman that will uphold your privacy in the wild. It provides enough space to house 4 people without feeling cramped up. The Oak Canyon comes with two blackout bedrooms, each with enough room to fit a double air mattress or two people.
These also feature a blackout fabric that blocks up to 99% of natural light to leave you with a dark room. No more having your morning sleep cut short in the crack of dawn when the sun rises!
The blackout feature further helps to regulate the temperature inside the tent. During the day, the interior is 5 degrees cooler compared to the outside and 2 degrees warmer at night, ensuring that your comfort when relaxing inside the tent is covered.
The living area can fit a camp table and a couple of camping chairs and features two large doors, as well as a PVC window to allow plenty of light in. This also gives you clear views of the tent surroundings.
However, the windows have covers if you want to maintain the privacy of your household. The two large doors are designed with mesh layers that allow for free airflow into and out of the tent. The mesh also serves to keep bugs like mosquitoes at bay so that you enjoy a sound night’s sleep.
A fibreglass and steel pole structure results in a stable shelter that holds up well in the face of winds. It also helps to keep the tent lightweight for an easy time whenever you want to transport it.
Setting up the tent is also a straightforward process that you can perform without aid from an extra pair of hands. You get reliable protection from downpours with the inclusion of a 4500mm HH flysheet.
This is paired with a fully sewn-in groundsheet to guarantee that groundwater does not mess up your stay in the outdoors. Furthermore, the tent fabric uses Coleman’s WeatherTec system to provide UV Guard SPF sun protection.
Overall, this is a nicely designed blackout tent that is built for your comfort during a camping escapade. It offers the ultimate balance between privacy and light for a joyous experience with your family. Although it comes with a carry bag, most people say that it is too small and needs your tent to be carefully folded to fit inside.
Coleman Octagon Blackout Tent
The Octagon Blackout tent provides campers with versatile sleeping arrangements. It comes with two doors on either side, which are split by a toggled divider to ensure there is no bumping into each other at the entrance.
The space inside the tent is large enough to house three people and offers decent headroom. A fully-integrated groundsheet ensures that you’re shielded against ground flow while keeping bugs and other creepy crawlies at bay.
The tent is 100% waterproof, meaning it will come in handy when you want to camp in wet conditions. The flysheet is made out of 2000mm HH fabric, and this is paired with taped seams to ensure no water molecules get inside.
You can expect to remain dry and warm even when there is a torrential downpour. The tent also offers an easy setup process that shouldn’t take much of your time.
On average, it will take you about 5 minutes when you have an extra pair of hands helping out. The steel poles are colour-coded and stand their ground well in the face of winds. The blackout feature on the tent blocks up to 90% of natural light, which means you have the right environment to enjoy a quick afternoon nap even when the sun is shining.
Seven large windows around the tent help to enhance ventilation, as well as provide a 360-degree view of the outside.
On the downside, the Coleman Octagon blackout tent can be a little weighty at 11.6kg. You don’t want to deal with this kind of weight during the trek to the campsite. However, the package comes with a handy carry bag to simplify your task when it comes to transporting the tent.
Vango Odyssey Family Tunnel Tent
The last tent on our list is the Vango Odyssey. This makes for the perfect choice for a family camping trip and offers a capacity of up to 8 people. You’ll probably be able to fit in more children if you have a larger family.
The tent is designed with a light out inner tent with dark fabric that helps to significantly reduce the light passing through. This should spare your kids the trouble of sleeping through the early morning glare.
The rainfly is made up of Ptotex 70D waterproof fabric that serves to keep you dry when it starts to pour. This material is also fire-retardant, to reduce the risk of a fire disaster if you plan to cook inside the tent.
Meanwhile, a full-integrated groundsheet provides you with a comfortable area to walk on while preventing condensation underneath the tent from getting through.
Thanks to a patented TBS II tension band system used on the Vango Odyssey, you will enjoy a stable performance when the structure is erected. It holds up well in windy conditions, as well as keeps away the draught.
To ensure that you remain comfortable when it gets stuffy, large diamond PVC windows are used for enhanced breathability. However, these conveniently come with toggled curtains so that your privacy is not compromised.
Overall, this is a practical blackout tent that will be suitable for large families. However, it doesn’t come cheap and unless you are travelling to the campsite by car, you’ll have a hard time handling its weight.
If you are a heavy snoozer who doesn’t like having your sleep interrupted by bright light, a blackout tent is what you need when you set out for a camping trip. The post above suggests some of the best blackout tents for camping that you should look out for the next time you have to prepare a camping gear list.
Do Blackout Tents Create Total Darkness?
Some blackout tent models claim to block as much as 99% of sunlight to result in a pitch-dark environment inside. However, most of them only block around 90% of the light, in reality, meaning you still get a slight degree of visibility.
The environment is dark enough to grant you a comfortable and stress-free sleeping session. This not only keeps you from struggling to sleep beyond sunrise but also ensures that you can have an easy-going afternoon nap.
Do Light-Blocking Attributes in Blackout Tents Fade Over Time?
In most cases, it will depend on the quality of the product you buy. Blackout tents are designed with special fabrics that carry light-blocking properties.
While premium tents should maintain this feature over time, cheaper models in the market tend to use a blackout spray, which gradually wears off with continuous exposure to the elements.
If you want a dark tent that will maintain its performance, go for a blackout fabric as opposed to a blackout sprayed fabric.
What is Dark Room Technology?
Dark Room technology refers to a method used to limit the glare of the sun or bright lights from getting into a space. The fabric is made in such a way that it blocks between 90% and 99% of luminosity, resulting in a pitch-dark environment inside.
Most of these fabrics further reduce the build-up of heat to make for a cool environment. The technology is mostly used in accessories such as camping tents and curtains, which are meant to shield the occupants of an indoor space against too much light and heat.
How Do Blackout Tents Work?
Various methods are employed to create the blackout effect in dark tents that block light from penetrating. Some of the things manufacturers do to their products to achieve this include:
Using a rainfly that blocks the sun- This is an effective method that results in adequate darkness under the tent.
However, some light may still be able to pass through if the rainfly doesn’t cover the windows. Some models use a reflective fabric that also serves to reduce the temperature inside the tent.
Using dark interior panels – Dark panels do a great job of keeping natural light from getting inside the tent. However, you don’t get that much freedom when it comes to blocking the light. If that is what you want from your tent, you should go for models designed with only the bedroom area being blacked out.
Special fabric with light-absorbing properties – This method works particularly effectively when it comes to blocking morning light. For the best performance, look for tents that offer climate control to ensure that the interior of the tent does not get too hot when the sun is blazing.
This is something that most dark tent models from Coleman come with.
Using insulation layers – Insulation layers are ideal for environments that get really cold. Aside from blocking out the light, the layer also locks in the warmth so that the conditions inside the tent remain cozy and toasty when it’s freezing outside.
Are Dark Tents Worth the Money?
Dark tents help you to achieve a lot that ordinary tents won’t allow you to. For instance, you won’t have to worry about your sleep getting interrupted by the morning light. If you’ve had a long and tiresome day that requires you to get enough rest, a dark tent allows you to enjoy your sleep past sunrise with no light to wake you up. Also, those camping with kids have the perfect environment for them to sleep in the afternoon.
But dark tents keep out more than just light. Some models incorporate climate control properties to regulate the temperature.
It results in a cooler interior when it’s hot outside and a warmer one when it’s cold outside. As such, they serve as the perfect shelter when you’re camping in the desert. Whether you want to relax inside the tent during the day or at night, your comfort is not compromised.
Can I Blackout an Ordinary Tent?
If you don’t want any light inside your tent, you could improvise with some heavy black blankets over the tent’s rainfly to block the light, although this method won’t be very effective.
Furthermore, it will do very little to guard against adverse weather. Blackout tents are specially blacked out during manufacture to remove any possibility of illumination.